Information for Referring Vets

At the Bishopton Radio Iodine Cat Centre our expert vets provide the best treatment for your cat with hyperthyroidism. Since opening our treatment centre in 2008 we have treated over 400 cats with radio iodine therapy.

  • The Radio Iodine Cat Centre is located within our RCVS accredited Small Animal Hospital.
  • We are proud to have achieved International Gold Standard Cat Friendly Status.
  • Upgraded and enriched patient accommodation.
  • Dedicated clinical team on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Direct insurance claims are available
  • The centre is run by clinicians with advanced feline qualifications:
    • Lucy Preece – Lucy holds a GP Certificate in Small Animal medicine, ANZCVS Medicine of Cats post-graduate qualification and is a member of ISFM Academy of Feline Practitioners
    • Mary Bennetts- Mary holds the RCVS certificate in Small Animal Medicine

To refer a cat to Bishopton Radio Iodine Centre please complete the Referral Form and submit together with a history and any recent laboratory results.

If you have any questions about radio-iodine treatment, or would like to discuss a specific case, don’t hesitate to contact us on tel 01765 602396, or email

Information packs for owners are available on request.

Iodine treatment information

  • Curative in 95% of cases
  • Median survival times with I-131 significantly longer than with methimazole treatment alone.
  • Minimal side effects
  • Patients remain hospitalised until radiation levels have reduced to a safe level
  • Extended stays can be accommodated
  • Treatment is especially suited to cats who are:-
    • Under 15 years of age (to prevent neoplastic transformation over time)
    • Patients intolerant to medical management or where compliance is an issue;
    • Where surgery is not an option due to unacceptable anaesthetic risk or ectopic thyroid tissue.

The treatment is given by subcutaneous injection under mild sedation. Patients are hospitalised until radiation levels have reduced to a safe level (normally two weeks). We can accommodate extended stays if necessary (eg owner pregnancy). Most cases respond within two weeks of treatment, but sometimes the full response can be delayed for up to six months. Hypothyroidism can reoccur and treatment with thyroxine supplement  is sometimes necessary.

We recognise that referrals can result in the loss of case continuity at the referring practice. Most of our patients have their pre-treatment investigations and post-treatment monitoring at their usual practice, with our support. This also benefits the client, as they only have to travel to us for the admission and discharge appointment. If you would like us to undertake the additional investigations (e.g. echocardiography by a cardiology advanced practitioner) this can be arranged.

Unsuitable cases

Whilst radio-iodine treatment is suitable for most cases, it is not recommended in a small number of cases:

  • Pre-existing IRIS stage 4 chronic kidney disease (IRIS stage 2 and 3 cases require discussion of risk:benefit)
  • Patients with concurrent disease requiring medication that cannot be administered in food
  • Thyroid carcinomas require significantly higher doses and can only be treated at 2 UK centres currently

Recommended pre-treatment protocol

The aim of the stabilisation process is to allow thorough assessment of renal function after any un-masking, together with true cardiac and hepatic assessment and to confirm no ongoing weight loss through other causes. Depending on initial findings prior stabilisation isn’t always necessary, especially if there is no evidence of azotaemia together with very mild increases in liver enzymes and no evidence of cardiac or other concurrent disease.

  • Full clinical examination (including but not exclusively retinal exam, cardiovascular assessment, thorough abdominal palpation and thyroid palpation)
  • Haematology, biochemistry and total T4 (external laboratory) and ideally urine specific gravity
  • Medicate with carbimazole/methimazole/thiamazole/yd diet
  • Once time elapsed to stabilise, repeat haematology, biochemistry and total T4 (external lab) together with urine specific gravity and ideally blood pressure
  • Repeat full clinical examination when tT4 is in the lower half of the reference range.
  • Additional tests may be advised depending on findings-
    • Cardiac investigation if significant murmur, tachycardia or arrhythmia persists
    • Imaging if concern re concurrent neoplasia etc
    • Fasting bile acid, or bile acid stimulation test if no improvement in liver enzymes
    • Further urinalysis including culture
    • FeLV/FIV testing if high risk patient

Cats should be up to date with their vaccinations prior to treatment. Once the treatment date is confirmed, medication should be stopped usually 10 days (y/d diet 14 days) before. Routine worming and flea medications should be administered 1 week before treatment. A repeat tT4 (external lab) will be required 5 days before treatment- this is used to aid dose calculation.